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SS Reporting Services and Crystal Reports

Posted on 2010-11-15
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Hello,

After many years of working with Reporting Services, I will have to start using Crystal Reports 2008. I'm not asking for comparison in terms of one versus another as my strong preference lies with SSRS, but rather some debriefing on where Crystal Reports stand in operation comparing to SSRS. Questions like:

- A final product for Reporting Services is an RDL file, what is for the Crystal Reports?
- Reporting Services use a web server for deploying reports to and accessing them, what is it for Crystal Reports?
- In the case of importing reports, you can get RDL files from either your development environment or download from the web server and then add it to your project, how can it be done for Crystal Reports?
- RS reports are stored as XML data in the designated database on the SQL Server, what about Crystal Reports, how are they stored and in what format?
- You can deploy RS reports either from your Visual Studio, or by uploading files to the web server, how is it done for Crystal Reports?

Again, I'm not after comparison between RS and CR in terms of features or what's better, and I'm not after links to "you can start there". Direct answers to my questions will perfectly suffice.

Thanks
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Question by:Yurich
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LinInDenver earned 500 total points
ID: 34150807
Hey Yurich, I'll try to answer in the same order as your questions above...

- A final product for Crystal is an .RPT file.

- You can deploy to Crystal Reports Server 2008 (which you purchase from SAP), or a variety of other tools - Ken Hemady's web site goes through many of these tools and what each one offers. Crystal Server can also be used to automatically schedule reports to run and be saved online, e-mailed, FTPd, or saved to shared drive.

- Crystal works a little differently. You don't have to be a "programmer" to compile it or anything. I like it a lot better than working with SSRS - seems like a lot fewer moving pieces. All you do is build a report (saved as an .RPT file). You can preview it within the designer without having to embed/compile it. It can then be stored out to a Crystal Reports Server.

- Again, it is just stored as an RPT file.

- This does depend on if you purchased Crystal Reports Server 2008 or another tool. With CRS2008, the RPT file is stored out onto your Enterprise server, which you log into using something called the Crystal Management Console (CMC). The CMC is where you can set user access, hard code certain report parameters, store database credentials for specific reports, schedule reports, etc. Your users would access the reports using InfoView, where they too can schedule reports (if you allow them through user permissions), or just view them adhoc online. If you choose not to use CRS2008, there are a lot of guys on this forum who have build .NET or Java applications, where RPT files are embedded, and parameters are sent into the report from the application.

Overall, I think you will find Crystal and Crystal Reports Server easier than SSRS (it is for me, anyway!). The designer tools are similar (drag and drop), but Crystal has really simplified the way you start building the report. I.e.: changing orientation of a report from Portrait to Landscape is just under Page Set up.  Adding fields to a report are as simple as selecting the tables under the Database menu header. You can also insert a straight SELECT statement (connect to your database, and choose COMMAND instead of a table/view/or stored proc). This is all done inside the RPT file.

I hope this helps give you an idea. It's never fun to move from one system to another, but so far I've heard it's easier to move from SSRS to Crystal than to go from Crystal to SSRS!

Take care,
Lin
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by:Yurich
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Thank you very much. Very informative :)
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